It’s raining apps
Consumer behavior is rapidly shifting as smartphones become more mainstream and less reserved for the tech savviest of consumers. Americans now turn on their phones with making calls as almost a secondary function to the apps that tell them within two seconds if they need an umbrella, or apps that show them their newest email, tweet or Facebook friends’ updates.
Consumers have to choose between the mobile web version of a website, or a mobile app. For example, people can type in “https://twitter.com” into the smartphone browser or click the Twitter app button on their phone. One takes a moment to load and requires typing whereas the other (the app) requires one click and some thumb swipes.
Consumers prefer apps
So the question is- what do consumers now prefer? Are consumers spending more time using their web browser for everything or have apps become second nature already?
According to first-reported data from Nielsen Smartphone Analytics, the average Android user in America averages 56 minutes every day actively interacting with the web and apps on their smartphone, with two thirds of that time devoted to apps.
Is everyone using the same ten apps?
There are very few apps that make up the majority of the time spent, leaving hundreds of apps barely used. “In fact,” Nielsen reports, “the top 10 Android apps account for 43 percent of all the time spent by Android consumers on mobile apps.”
The top 50 apps account for 61 percent of all time spent on apps by Android users and as of this week, the remaining 249,950+ apps in the Android Market compete for the remaining 39 percent of use.
Androids and you
Realtors are now struggling with whether or not they should develop a mobile application for their business, as are brokers and franchises. Some already have and are having success with their Android apps.
What the Nielsen study reveals a major challenge- Android users are congregating around very very few apps, likely the social media apps (Twitter and Facebook), email apps (Gmail) and native apps (weather, maps). Some brokerages will tuck tail and run while others will recognize that no real estate application will ever dominate any non-Realtor’s app use given the infrequency of any real estate transaction in a consumer’s life.
That said, the hopeful news in this study is that consumers are choosing apps over web use in high volume, and agents and brokers that are investing in premium listings on the real estate search sites (which are the highest performing real estate apps, above and beyond brokerages’) will benefit along with brokerages/franchises that offer useful tools for buyers and sellers above and beyond basic search.
We are closely watching the progress of all apps, be they Android or iPhone as this study clearly shows a preference for using them over the often clunky mobile web experience.